• Edwards Calls For Withdrawal, Rejoicing Ensues

    By Neil the Ethical Werewolf Being an enormous John Edwards fan, I've long awaited the day when he would come out and say that his Iraq vote was a mistake. It was one of the things I wanted to ask him about when I met him, but I decided to ask about health care and global poverty instead. So you can imagine that I'm thrilled to see his op-ed expressing exactly that sentiment in the Washington Post. I'm quite happy with the content of the op-ed itself. It begins with a straightforward "I was wrong" and blames bad WMD intelligence for his vote. I regard his quasi-explanation of why he didn’t speak out against the war before – “It has been hard to say these words because those who didn't make a mistake -- the men and women of our armed forces and their families -- have performed heroically and paid a dear price” – as bullshit, but it’s the kind of sterilized bullshit that doesn’t pollute the rivers and makes decent fertilizer.
  • Doors

    By Ezra Granted, the whole "if feminists get their way, who'll open doors for women!?" argument is riding the short bus from the very start and I should probably leave it alone, but one thing I've always wondered: I hold open the door for a lot of dudes . In fact, I basically hold open the door for anyone entering it less than five feet behind me. Now, that may be because the enormous power rippling out from my pectoral muscles and bulging forth in my biceps simply demands physical labor, but how would that change if women were equal? I'm clearly holding the door out of some odd motivation internal to me, not a deep-seated belief in womanly wimpitude. And do I unknowingly believe other men inferior? Is what the world needs now a masculinism movement to heal unequal power perceptions within the male community?
  • Birth, Blood, Buses

    By Pepper of the Daily Pepper Like Neil, I'd like to consider focusing more on individuals in the schools. In Newsweek's remembrance of Rosa Parks, Ellis Cose writes, In the newly published "The Shame of the Nation," Jonathan Kozol sheds a book's length of tears over segregation in schools. He cites research that shows segregation is worsening and notes that three fourths of black and Latino children attend schools with no or relatively few whites. It is a daunting task to convince poor, minority kids they can learn "when they are cordoned off by a society that isn't sure they really can," writes Kozol. Ezra has covered this topic before , but the questions are worth asking again and again. Is this what the civil-rights movement was for? Fighting against segregation just so it can happen again? It is hard to find opportunity in public schools, harder than ever. The wealthier and whiter families are in the suburbs, where their property taxes go to fund nicer schools.
  • Workers’ Rights Initiative

    Shakes here… What’s my progressivism? It’s being pro-choice. Pro-choice is a phrase most closely associated with abortion, but the belief in giving people choices is really the core of a progressive philosophy, and when I’m asked what I would do to shift power from the corporation to the individual, the employer to the employee, my immediate response is to give workers choices—and in so doing, return to their hands a little bit more of the much-touted freedom that politicians are always talking about.
  • Number Crunching Interlude

    Posted by Nicholas Beaudrot of Electoral Math I hate to step on the "New Progressivism" salon, but I've spent the last hour or so putting together a spiffy map of this week's election in Virginia, and I'm sure as heck not going to let it go to waste at this point: This map shows that the Kaine Kilgore election represents a midpoint between the '96 vintage Clinton urban-suburban coalition and the modern Mark Warner/Paul Hackett urban-rural-smalltown coalition. Not pictured are Kaine's small but noticeable improvements in many small towns throughout Virgina: places like Williamsburg, Staunton, Lexington, Waynesboro, and Danville all showed small blue-tinted shifts in their partisan alignment.
  • Preschool For All!

    By Neil the Ethical Werewolf Ezra has called for more progressive policy ideas, and one that I'd really like to see more discussion of is making publicly funded preschool available to all kids. The most obvious good thing about this is its potential as an educational improvement. The years before kids go into kindergarten are good times for them to learn all sorts of things, and it'd be nice to offer them an environment that will help with learning. If you're worried about inner-city highschool students being unable to do basic math, you might want to help them learn more at the beginning so the whole process of education can move forward. While going to college is in some part a positional good , going to preschool is an absolute good. Free preschool will also help parents "combine work and family and not go crazy," in Garance Franke-Ruta's memorable phrase , as it'll provide much-needed child care for working families. I also like it as an FDR-style public works program -- it...
  • Weekend Topic

    By Ezra Following up on the post below, what's your progressivism? And none of this vague, Stronger at Home, Respected in the World BS. Give me four or five policies that should define the Democratic Party's agenda and the theme that ties them together. The only constraint? They have to be focused on shifting power from the corporation to the individual, the employer to the employee. It's a new progressivism, but using progressivism's old, and far too neglected, definition. Alright then, thinking caps on.
  • The New Progressivism?

    By Ezra Folks here know the deep reservoir of affection I have for The Washington Monthly . I love that magazine -- its writers, its editors, its tone, its editorial line, its willingness to do big-think...and so, when I say this, I say this with love. But their package on The New Progressivism is truly, sadly underwhelming. [T]here’s another, more populist strain of that tradition, one that has sought to use government to empower individuals to protect themselves (think Ralph Nader’s 1960s consumer movement). We’ve been wondering if it might be possible to update that sort of thinking. And so we asked the five writers whose work follows to come up with ways to strengthen the hand of the average American in the 21st-century marketplace. Sounds promising enough. Particularly since they set it up as the enlightened response to Bush's Ownership Society. God knows a competing vision, preferably one lacking the Republican's green tint but retaining the power of the theme, is needed. But...
  • In Which I Prove Myself a Libertarian on Dairy Issues

    By Ezra Over at Kevin Drum's place, a bunch of snotty blue-staters are sniffing about the unquestionable superiority of French cuisine. They make me sick. All the more because they're right. To add my pinch of grievance to the broth, as a liberal, even I don't understand why we can't import or use raw milk cheeses aged less than 60 days (a time period that exempts certain hard cheeses, like parmesan, from scrutiny). Not only are these cheeses significantly more delicious than the pasteurized, bastard versions we eat here, but the likelihood that raw milk will hurt you is almost infinitesimally small. Other countries, like France, where raw milk rules the roost, are not falling to outbreaks of listeria and salmonella, and, in fact, the most serious recent outbreak of the dreaded listeria came from American hot dogs. Meanwhile, in keeping us safe from this threat that doesn't really threaten, we get meek, mild, comparatively tasteless cheeses. It's really a, ahem, raw deal. Mandate that...
  • Unintelligible Design

    This post by CW is about the best thing I've ever read on Intelligent Design. Not on its theorists, founders or believers, but on the world they think was designed so intelligently. Sorry folks, but this world, at time, is not only something less than intelligent, it's hardly intelligible. The fact that some of its superapes can write screeds this funny is a wonder, sure, but it hardly balances out the reality of hemorrhoids.